This Awesome Woman Is Making People Laugh About a Disease That’s Not All That Funny


Nicole Osborne is not your average comedian. Diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in March of 2011, Osborne is turning her prognosis into a new career. The survival rate for Stage 4 breast cancer is less than 25 percent for five years, according to The American Cancer Society. Osborne was given less than one year to live in 2013 — but she’s outlived expectations and now brings awareness to cancer one joke at a time.

“Once I had cancer, I kind of felt like no holds barred,” Osborne told CBS News. “I’m going to do whatever I feel like doing, and I wanted to try [stand-up comedy], so I tried it, and I loved it.” She moved from Chicago to New York for cancer treatment and decided to pursue comedy.

Watch one of her performances here. Story continues below.

Osborne has since performed sold out shows at renowned comedy clubs, such as Stand Up NY and The Comedy Club in New York City. While cancer is clearly no laughing matter, those affected by the disease have warmly received Osborne’s routine.

“I have Stage 4 breast cancer. And because of that, people don’t know how to talk to me. They either think I’m dying right away or they can tell me their deep secrets because I’ll die with them,” she says in video above. “This is the last time I go to a Supercuts, you guys.”

Osborne currently lives in The Hope Lodge, an American Cancer Society residence in New York City, and performs as often as her health allows.

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This New Kind of Passport May Make Emergency Hospital Trips Way Easier


Let’s face it, no one is at their best when thrown into an overwhelming hospital setting. For people with acute medical conditions, communicating with doctors can be an especially stressful experience.

But the Health Passport eases this stress by providing doctors and medical workers with vital information, a brief medical history and the patient’s concerns.

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The Health Passport was inspired by a similar tool used at the Mattel Children’s Hospital University of California, Los Angeles. A nonprofit hospital group called Plantree, in partnership with the National Quality Forum, debuted the passport last year to make sure all patients will be the center of attention and that their specific needs are adequately addressed.

Susan Frampton, president of Planetree, told The Wall Street Journal that the Health Passport helps “even the playing field and improve the quality of conversations that lead to deeper and more trusting relationships between providers and patients.

In addition to medical information, the Health Passport includes personal preferences for taking medication and allows patients to list their anxiety triggers. Patients can also specify their communication preferences — sign language, speech device or nonverbal sounds — and describe how medical staff can best accommodate their needs.

If you’d like to download a Health Passport, head here.

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This Punk Band Made Up of Musicians With Disabilities Is About to Make History


Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, better known as PKN, is a Finnish punk band whose members are all middle-aged men with intellectual disabilities.

As of Saturday, the band has officially been chosen to represent their county at the Eurovision Song Contest, an international televised singing competition, taking place this May in Vienna, Austria.

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The Eurovision Song Contest has been ongoing in Europe since 1956 and boasts an estimated 180 million viewers every year, according to its website.

PKN will perform their 85-second song “Aina Mun Pitaa” (I Always Have To) for the competition, and they’re currently one of the predicted favorites to win, BBC News reported. They will also be the first punk band to compete at Eurovision.

We are changing attitudes somewhat,” Sami Helle, the band’s bass player told The Guardian. “A lot of people are coming to our gigs, and we have a lot of fans. We don’t want people to vote for us to feel sorry for us, we are not that different from everybody else — just normal guys with a mental handicap.”

As The Mighty previously reported, PKN formed in 2009 but gained significant popularity after a documentary about them called “The Punk Syndrome” was released in Spring 2012.

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We bring a different kind of perspective into punk music; it’s our perspective,” Helle said in a press release. “We’re different, we’re four mentally handicapped guys so our perspective on the world of punk is a little different.”

Best of luck, guys!

Check out PKN in the trailer to “The Punk Syndrome” below:

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14 Quotes That Inspire Me as a Disability Advocate


This year will be my eighth year as a disability advocate. During that time I’ve received accreditation as a national speaker, worked on several autism-related films and written two best-selling books. I was diagnosed with autism when I was 4. Looking back, I could tell you I never saw advocating as something I’d be doing today as an adult.

On this road, I’ve seen so many beautiful quotes from members of our community. On my tougher days, these words have inspired me; they’ve reminded me that what we’re doing as advocates is making a difference.

Last night I took out a piece of paper and wrote out a few of my favorites that I wanted to share.

  1. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You!” — Dr. Seuss
  2. “Autism can’t define me. I define autism.” — Kerry Magro (me!)
  3. “If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” — Maya Angelou
  4. “Normal is just a dryer setting.” — Patsy Clairmont
  5. “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” — Scott Hamilton
  6. “I’m great at several things and broken in none.” — Kerry Magro
  7. “My ability is stronger than my disability.” — Luke Watson
  8. “When you have a disability, knowing that you are not defined by it is the sweetest feeling.” — Anne Wafula Strike
  9. “Autism is not a disease, rather a disability that every day I strive to become an A-bility.” — Kerry Magro
  10. “I am different, not less.” — Temple Grandin
  11. “If someone calls you ‘awkward,’ just know that it means you’re unique”and a lot better than ordinary.” — Kerry Magro
  12. “Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you’re needed by someone.” — Martina Navratilova
  13. “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” — Stephen Shore
  14. “Attacking people with disabilities is the lowest display of power I can think of.” — Morgan Freeman

Autism can't define me...I define

 What quotes would you add to this list? Please share your favorites in the comments!

This post originally appeared on KerryMagro.com.

To the Stranger Who Held My Fussy Baby and Said Something I’ll Never Forget


My story goes back to when my youngest son was just 18 months old. He was born with congenital hydrocephalus, spastic cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

My husband and I were attempting to have an afternoon out with the children, but my youngest son was having a particularly difficult time that day at the restaurant. He was extending, crying and being fussy. I was attempting to hold and sooth him while still interacting with my other children. We just wanted a “normal” day.

A woman approached me and asked if she could hold my son. At first I was reluctant, but after several offers, we finally allowed her to hold my son while we finished our food. We relaxed and enjoyed the meal.

When we were finished, she brought my son back to me and thanked me. She explained that once upon a time she had a son. She gave me a big, heartfelt hug and said, “Things will get better. They do get easier.”

I will never forget those words of encouragement. I will never forget that sweet stranger. About a year later we ran into her in an elevator. She smiled and said, “See, I told you it would be better.” I wish I’d thought to ask her name.

Those word come back to me whenever we reach a bump in the road. Things might be difficult but they never last.

I hope she knows what a difference she made in my life by her simple act of love.

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15 of the Most Ridiculous Things Insurance Companies Have Said and Done


Most of the time, enduring intense public humiliation or even bodily harm would be preferable to dealing with insurance companies. (OK, that’s a slight exaggeration). But insurance companies can be a pain to deal with.

And if you’ve experienced the clogged, bureaucratic nightmare that is getting medical expenses covered, you might have faced some real-life ridiculous situations like these:

1. “They said, ‘We’ll cover the CT scan but not the films or the doctor who read the films.’ …What?” — Meg Grooms

2. “My son has Down syndrome. I was asked by a customer service representative if his condition was permanent…” — Mary Trask


3.
“One of the worst and funniest [calls] was when they told me my son was on a Navy ship, and that’s where they sent his medication. Even after proving to them he was 6 years old, they argued with me for almost 40 minutes. I finally gave up and went back to the doctor for a new prescription.” — Diana Cosman

4. “I’m in the ongoing appeals process to get speech therapy services covered for my son. My favorite reply is: ‘Please demonstrate medical necessity.’ My favorite answer answer is: ‘He doesn’t talk.’” — Brandi Horton

5. “I was told that my 5-year-old is ‘too young’ to have anxiety.” — Laura Jonas McGaffick

6. “Insurance rep: ‘You have to pay for the sedation for your daughter’s dental surgery out of pocket because there are lower cost alternatives.’ Me: ‘Oh, like what?’ Insurance rep: ‘Restraints.’ We paid the $1,000.” — Coleen Carey

 

7. “The ‘best’ thing I’ve been told by an insurance company is that I, the sole legal and custodial parent of my 5-year-old, am not authorized to access his health information because he has not designated me as his representative.” — O Sophia Johansson

8. “An insurance company tried to deny coverage for my son’s open heart surgery he had at 10 weeks old. They tried to claim it as a pre-existing condition because he’d only been added to the policy 10 weeks ago, on November 12, 2008 — that was his date of birth…” — Julie A Kehm


9.
“They asked if my daughters disease ‘was going to be an ongoing thing.'” — Kenneth Mueller

10. “The insurance company couldn’t grasp the concept of twins. They would process the first claim they’d get, then deny the second as already paid. We would call and say, yet again, two claims for two babies born on the same day. ‘Oh, twins! I’ll note it on your file.’ Nope, they never noted that…” — Adrienne Braddock Conroy

11.‘What is autism?’ *head hits desk*” — Anna Perng


12.
“‘Is there any possible way your manager can contact their manager?’ ‘No, ma’am, you will need to fax it.’ ‘Are you saying they can’t email or call?’ ‘No, but you can send a fax to us requesting that we send a fax to them to ask them to call us. Or they can answer by fax.’ — Lyndse Marie Ballew

13. “After several rounds of phone calls to have a feeding chair with supports approved I asked for a letter in writing. The letter stated the chair wasn’t necessary and there was no reason why my son couldn’t eat on the floor or somewhere else. The chair was requested because my son could not sit up on his own and often choked. I eventually won that battle, but I’m still mad about the response.” — Crystal Brockway Harrison

14. “Being told my heart condition — atrial flutter — was ‘Ariel’ flutter. Yes, you moron, I have to go for heart surgery and you’re thinking of the little mermaid. Good for a laugh now, I guess, but wasn’t so funny when I didn’t get paid for four months!” — Wanda Elaine Wylie

15. “I was speechless when my husband’s insurance company covered my son’s wheelchair, minus the wheels. We were billed for the wheels as they were considered ‘an accessory.'” — Andrea Steeves-Belanger


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